REAL World 2008 Day 1

The day started with a very nice breakfast and some weary arrivals who had been delayed yesterday by the lousy weather. Nice collection of goodies in the bag including a 1GB USB Key with all the presentations loaded (but not the keynotes).

Keynote

Geoff came on and presented some interesting stats, last year being their best ever and including a major shift to Windows and Linux. The Linux version is their fastest growing by far.

One reason for the revenue leap was the Apple Poland deal – 60,000 students now learning with REALbasic and that only represents 10% of schools!

Cocoa

Now back as a high priority after being derailed by other Mac-related development. Expect to see some further news during the year. I suspect a few new people will be signing up to the beta list to get their hands on it ASAP.

REAL SQLServer R2

The big news is a significant improvement in the presentation of databases in the IDE and the programming API. Integration is more like an object-relational layer (I am very glad I didn’t carry on and port the OOFILE layer from C++). Thus your interactions with fields are type-checked and tables appear like classes in the IDE so you can see field definitions like properties within them.

A major new feature called Lifesaver seems to be like a Time Machine for databases. I’m not sure from how Geoff presented the feature whether it is just checkpointing plus roll-forward and will reserve judgements until I see some tests with big databases. At first glance, it allows you to undo database operations. The transparency of this API may lead some people to just use databases as their document model rather than implementing undo themselves.

The engine also adds server-side plugins and messaging between clients and servers in any combination.

A very pretty demo showed a dramatic improvement in simultaneous users adding records.

Speaker Contest Winners

Paul Lefevebre did a nice talk on the desirability of simplicity. I would have been more impressed if I hadn’t been studying and hopefully practicing this approach. I hope the rest of the audience was paying attention 🙂

Dave Mancuso’s talk on their application development history in the school system was painfully familiar. They validate the worth of REALbasic as a cross-platform solution that drastically reduces support costs.

Jay Jennings did a dynamic presentation on how to make a living thinking up small apps and selling them rather than trying to compete with the developing world’s freelance programmers (in some cases, use them to do the work which you specify). He recommended Kunaki as a CD/DVD fulfillment house. That tip alone was worth coming to the session!

Afternoon

I skipped most of the afternoon sessions, taking advantage of grabbing Geoff Perlman and others for some conversations relating to report writers and other components. I heard a rumour from someone unconnected with RS that RS are working on their own report-writer so one way or another, the field should be expanded this year! Note This posting neither confirms nor denies anything that might be happening with mine or anyone else’s technology. I will say as an objective observer of the keynote that with the improved API and IDE interaction with databases, reporting is the logical missing piece.